Posts tagged Titan Books
Ever since I devoured Dana Fredsti’s thrilling zombie novel Plague Town last April, I’ve been anxiously awaiting its sequel Plague Nation. Thankfully I was rewarded with it earlier this month, and got a chance to start it during my morning commute. I found myself on the edge of my seat, literally so absorbed, that I didn’t even realize I had gotten on the wrong train. Now that’s gripping zombie literature!
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Anytime something claims to be the “complete” guide to a subject, I’m immediately skeptical of its “completeness.” Asserting that your piece is the be all and end all resource about a topic is pretty bold, carrying with it an air of arrogance. However that self-assuredness is completely justified in the case of Nicholas Pegg’s 700 plus page tome, The Complete David Bowie, which was recently re-released in an updated and expanded edition by Titan Books.
Pegg’s lengthy introduction celebrates the chameleonic David Bowie for his ability to change appearance, persona, and music to suit changing artistic interests. He comes off as very defensive of Bowie, responding to criticisms that the man lacks attention span and his own unique style. Although Pegg argues quite deftly that Bowie self-identifies more as a performer than a musician, using new types of sound and characters to explore themes of space travel, faith, mental health, and isolation that he’s been grappling with throughout his career. By placing Bowie in this light, Pegg opens a fascinating door to helping you better understand the complicated facets of this enigmatic artist. It’s also the perfect setup for what follows in Pegg’s guide.
Throughout The Complete David Bowie, Pegg uses a shorthand when discussing Bowie’s works, which thankfully he lays out in the beginning of the piece under a section called “How to Use This Book.” Pegg’s volume is as complete as you can possibly get when it comes to Bowie, discussing songs from A-Z, albums, live performances, BBC radio sessions, videos, and Bowie’s work as an actor. There’s a fantastic section called “Dateline” as well, which is literally a 54 page timeline of Bowie’s career covering all aspects of his artistic pursuits.
The two column text format for each page means that this work is jam-packed with juicy details. Everything in Pegg’s book is meticulously researched and written, containing fascinating insight and behind-the-scenes information quelled from multiple sources, including but not limited to interviews with Bowie and his collaborators. For instance in his section on songs, Pegg includes details about different versions of songs, circumstances surrounding their recording, if bootleg copies have surfaced, and even notable covers by other musicians. If that’s not thorough, I don’t know what is.
If you’re a casual Bowie appreciator, beware; you might not have the fortitude to digest a volume of this breadth. However, if you’re a hardcore Bowie fan looking for the Encyclopedia Bowieca, you won’t be disappointed with The Complete David Bowie. The subject matter and its precise presentation will be enough for you to want to read this book cover to cover.
The Complete David Bowie is available in stores and online at www.titanbooks.com.
Thankfully I wasn’t a total steampunk noob when I sat down to read James P. Blaylock’s latest novel The Aylesford Skull. I was luckily introduced to steampunk subculture few years ago, by a memorable newspaper article that profiled avid Massachusetts people in the scene. Since then I’ve been fascinated by the movement’s fusion of science fiction and Victorian era clothing, themes, and technology. So when Titan Books offered me a chance to review a steampunk book, I was excited by the concept of an adventure in this imaginative world. Naturally, I also was a bit wary since this would be my first foray into steampunk literature, but I figured if Blaylock is referred to as a “steampunk legend” then I was probably in safe hands. And I’m happy to report that I was.
Probably the most surprising thing about The Aylesford Skull is how subtly it fits into the steampunk genre. Initially I expected overt reminders of this book’s place in the subgenre with all kinds of wacky futuristic contraptions, terminology, and styles of dress. I quickly discovered that the Victorian England inhabited by Blaylock’s protagonist Langdon St. Ives, is not very ostentatious. There are occasional references to goggles, airships, and other advanced technology, but nothing that screams steampunk. In fact, Blaylock’s setting is remarkably similar to the London of another Victorian era hero: Sherlock Holmes.
As a character, Langdon St. Ives is essentially the steampunk Holmes. Both are brave, intelligent men who consistently find themselves wrapped up on complex mysteries fraught with danger and intrigue. Like Holmes, St. Ives has a faithful companion who is almost always by his side, and he has friends from all walks of life that assist him when needed. Hasbro is St. Ives’s equivalent to Watson, and his young friend Finn Conrad seems like he could easily fit in among the young scamps Holmes occasionally employs for assistance. St. Ives even has a nemesis Dr. Narbondo, who’s a dastardly mastermind akin to Professor Moriarty. Their resemblance is clearly intentional since Blaylock features a character who aids St. Ives named Arthur Doyle as a nod to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the Scottish author who created Sherlock Holmes.
Despite their common traits, St. Ives is not simply a Holmes carbon copy. He’s a professor and adventurer as opposed to a detective. St. Ives is also a fuller, more sympathetic character because he’s a family man with a wife and children that he cares about. He’s not a manic detective obsessed with his work who goes looking for trouble; St. Ives becomes incidentally embroiled in it. This admirable man is motivated by genuine concern for his loved ones, and he’ll do anything to protect them.
Blaylock’s tale involves supernatural elements, and like Holmes, St. Ives is a man of logic, so he’s reluctant to accept the ideas at first. Unlike one of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s yarns however, The Aylesford Skull doesn’t have a rational justification for its fantastic portions. Unfortunately that’s one of the book’s few shortcomings, its murky, slightly confusing exposition on how the titular Aylesford Skull actually works.
Aside from this thin MacGuffin, The Aylesford Skull is a brisk, fun romp that you’ll devour quickly. Throughout the book Blaylock deftly weaves multiple characters and shifting points of view together in a way that effectively maintains momentum and drives the story forward. When the personalities do cross paths, their dialogue has a dry British humor that makes for amusing banter. And while there’s no grand explanation of the mystery from the protagonist in the style of Holmes, Blaylock’s conclusion is action-packed enough to make up for it. If this is what steampunk literature is supposed to be like, count me in for more outings.
The Aylesford Skull is available in stores and online at www.titanbooks.com.
I’m not the target audience for Mark Salisbury’s book Dark Shadows: The Visual Companion. That’s because I never saw the 1970s soap that inspired Tim Burton’s film “Dark Shadows,” and I didn’t find the movie particularly entertaining. I thought it was better than Burton’s “Alice in Wonderland,” but not one of his all-time best. However, I am a sucker for coffee table books, especially ones about movies, which is why I decided to check out Dark Shadows: The Visual Companion. I knew it would be a quick, easy read with lots of big glossy photos and fascinating behind the scenes stories. And it didn’t disappoint!
Dark Shadows: The Visual Companion features a foreword by Johnny Depp, the movie’s lead actor and frequent Burton collaborator, as well as an introduction by Burton himself. Neither of these statements are very long, although Depp’s foreword is especially entertaining. Even if it was ghostwritten, the section captures his unique voice perfectly with statements like “The character of Barnabas Collins possessed a sense of elegance that bewitched me.”
Following these opening statements is a section on the history of how the project came to be, which annoyingly repeats some of the same sentiments expressed in Depp and Burton’s intros. After that, the book delves into original material again, taking a logical approach to organizing itself: Chapter 1 (Cast), Chapter 2 (The Sets), Chapter 3 (Costume, Hair & Makeup, Prosthetics), Chapter 4 (Cinematography, Stunts, Special Effects), and Chapter 5 (Visual Effects, Editing, Scoring).
Each chapter contains a pleasing mixture of behind the scenes photos, concept art, and anecdotes from the cast and crew. Frustratingly though, captions are not placed next to images. Instead there is a single page in the back which has them, forcing you to flip back if you want to know who or what is featured on a specific page. The most hilarious interview snippets come from Depp of course, who is the only person in the book who requires censoring. He drops an f-bomb, which is politely altered so as not to offend readers.
My favorite discoveries mainly involved how the filmmakers created the costumes, sets, and effects for this supernatural flick. I loved hearing about how movie magic was used to create this quirky world. Although it was also intriguing to learn that Michelle Pfeiffer who plays the Collins family matriarch, was a huge fan of the “Dark Shadows” television show and practically begged Burton for a role in the movie.
Perhaps the most bittersweet part of Dark Shadows: The Visual Companion, is its afterword by the late producer Richard D. Zanuck, to whom the book is dedicated. Zanuck had an extremely long and successful career working on many iconic films, so it’s surprising to hear him describe this cast and his crew as one of his all-time favorites. I wonder how much of his statements were derived from truth, and whether he was putting on a kind face for publicity’s sake. Unfortunately we’ll never get the chance to ask him.
Despite my lack of enthusiasm for the film “Dark Shadows” I still dug Mark Salisbury’s book, so if you’re a huge fan of Burton, Depp, the movie, or the television show, you’ll probably have just as much fun with this book.
Dark Shadows: The Visual Companion is available in stores and online at www.titanbooks.com.
Let’s not pull any punches. Silhouettes are boring, stuffy pieces of artwork. The only places you can usually find them are in the homes of older affluent folks, or those trying desperately to project the air of wealth. However, once you discover Silhouettes from Popular Culture by artist Olly Moss, you’ll never look at the medium the same way again. That’s because Moss’s debut hardcover is a game-changer for this type of art.
Instead of featuring nameless subjects or dry historical figures, Moss mines our favorite movies, television shows, and yes even video games from the last 50 years for silhouette fodder. To reveal who he gives the treatment to would spoil the thrill of seeing it yourself, although pop culture gurus should be delighted by the variety offered up in this book. Moss doesn’t hesitate to get obscure with his references, something that only adds to the hilarity of his concept.
What makes this hardcover unique isn’t just that Moss borrows characters from popular culture; it’s the way he playfully arranges them by using both pages to tell a story. Sometimes the silhouettes on opposing pages are characters from the same piece, other times they are different ones played by a single actor, and in select instances they can be different versions of the same character portrayed by different actors. These characters can be interacting directly or indirectly based on their placement. At certain points they’re facing one another, in others they’re facing away, and in a few spots, they are lined up going the same direction.
When necessary to create context, Moss adds his own clever design flourishes to the silhouettes like small splashes of color. There’s plenty of range to entertain you and a very sleek old-time look and feel to the book. The cover is made of a blue textured fabric, with gold etching for the title, and a raised silhouette that feels like it was hand-cut and pasted on.
Silhouettes from Popular Culture is brimming with cool pictures to keep you engaged, but it’s much more than just a typical coffee table book. Moss combines old-fashioned aesthetics with a postmodern sense of humor to create an experience that’s incredibly fun and interactive.
His book is a mind puzzle like a Rubik’s Cube, except infinitely less frustrating and easier for friends to play with at the same time. Even if you’re well-versed in pop culture it’s still tough to guess every single silhouette right. When you find ones that you don’t know immediately, it’s actually more stimulating because it gets you to use your powers of your imagination in order to figure out who it is.
The only slightly annoying thing about Silhouettes from Popular Culture is that there’s no answer key. But understandably, Moss is hoping for re-read value. He knows you’ll keep coming back after you absorb new movies, television, and video games to try to fill in the blanks. He definitely has me hooked.
Silhouettes from Popular Culture is available in stores and online at www.titanbooks.com.
Do you expect me to talk?
No Mr. Bond, I expect you to read!
I’m not a hardcore fan by any means, but I’m very familiar with British secret agent James Bond. I love movies and video games featuring the titular character for the same reasons most people do: they have exotic locations, expensive cars, cool gadgets, sexy women, maniacal villains, and plenty of action. Despite their formulaic nature, these tales still manage to please us because they unapologetically embrace these dependable staples. Fortunately Jim Lawrence and Yaroslav Horak’s Bond comics in The James Bond Omnibus 004 operate the exact same way. They work within the established formula to create entertaining Bond adventures that feel right at home in the hero’s mythology.
Somehow I had never heard of Lawrence and Horak’s Bond 1970s comic series until Titan Books recently sent me a copy of Omnibus 004. I wish I had discovered the comics sooner though, because Lawrence’s writing and Horak’s artwork work very effectively together to tell engrossing, Bond stories.
Similar to the Bond films, these missions have droll names such as “Trouble Spot,” “Die with My Boots On,” “The Girl Machine,” and “The Phoenix Project.” Bond travels to interesting places and gets himself into dangerous situations, but in classic fashion, he always beats the bad guy, usually right after the villain stupidly spills all of his plans for world domination. Then Bond gets the girl.
Lawrence writes Bond in the vein of Sean Connery’s version of the character. Bond is a misogynist who patronizingly refers to all women as “luv” and frequently asks them to stay out of the way. It’s a good thing they don’t listen, since they often end up saving him from danger. He might not acknowledge it, but the women in these operations are very much equal partners in trying to accomplish the endgame. Whether it’s intended or not there are definite feminist undertones in the series.
In addition to being a chick magnet Lawrence’s Bond also has the trademark Bond sense of humor. He makes puns after killing henchmen, like a moment after he forces some off a cliff, and has a comment about them “taking the plunge.” His female counterpart is exasperated by his morbid joke, though not for very long. Bond also uses an alias to be sneaky, something I don’t remember him doing before. In several of the comics he refers to himself as Mark Hazard, a phony name that the bad guys see through very quickly. Then it’s back to “Bond, James Bond.”
One of the most fascinating parts about these comics is Bond’s partnership with black allies. These characters may have silly stereotypical names like Crystal Kelly and Smoky Turpin, but don’t be fooled. These black characters, like the female ones, are equals with Bond in helping to take out the bad guys, something that would have been pretty progressive at the time these comics were being written.
Lawrence isn’t the only one worthy of praise, Horak deserves kudos too for his distinct artwork. Strangely Bond looks the most like George Lazenby, who only played the character once. Though Horak’s version an impressive medley of Connery and all the Bonds after aside from Daniel Craig. Horak’s black and white drawings prevent the violence in these Bond tales from becoming overwhelming and allow him to show more skin than the films do. His visual style bears a retro flair that looks dated but feels like classic Bond.
If you love all things James Bond, you should check out The James Bond Omnibus 004. Even if you’re not familiar with the character though, you can still have fun if you dig comics. Inside this volume you’ll find a collection of enjoyable, easy-to-read comics which fit appropriately into Bond canon.
The James Bond Omnibus 004 is available now in stores and online at www.titanbooks.com.
A small shelf or coffee table simply won’t do if you want to own Jaws: Memories from Martha’s Vineyard by Matt Taylor. Whatever you prefer, you’re gonna need a bigger one to hold this book. The behemoth behind the scenes volume is so meaty Jaws himself would have trouble sinking his teeth all the way into it.
The first reason he would struggle is the book’s size (11.9″ x 10.5″) and weight (4.67 lbs). At almost 5 pounds, it’s one heavy duty book! Secondly, there are over 300 sprawling pages with the most comprehensive making of account you’ll find available about Steven Spielberg’s famous film. Memories from Martha’s Vineyard delves deeper than any DVD commentary or behind the scenes documentary could possibly go, sharing hours of interviews and a wealth of amateur and professional photos depicting the people, places, and props that brought the movie to life.
Starting with the location scouting that led filmmakers to the New England island of Martha’s Vineyard, this book intricately documents the movie’s entire production process from start to finish. There’s an unexpected but brief foreword by Steven Spielberg as well as interviews with production designer Joe Alves, screenwriter Carl Gottlieb, and casting director Shari Rhodes. Although the real stars of Memories from Martha’s Vineyard are the island’s working-class natives who got acting roles in “Jaws,” helped construct the sets, and assisted the crew with day-to-day affairs.
Because he’s a resident of the area, Taylor is able to give you a true insider’s glimpse into the quirks of these unique New Englanders and the subtleties of their culture. His familiarity with the location is a big reason why he got such great candid remarks for this book. People there clearly trust him to do the subject justice.
Perhaps the most fascinating element that Taylor explores about his native island is the complexity of its politics. For instance, using several angles, he vividly recounts a frustrating tiff between local leaders and the film crew about a building being constructed as a set. Protective politicians almost caused production to grind to a complete halt because the temporary structure was not in keeping with rigorous zoning regulations. Thankfully due to finesse and assistance from the right stakeholders, everything was eventually resolved.
Jaws: Memories from Martha’s Vineyard is truly a fantastic read for anyone rabidly obsessed with Steven Spielberg’s epic movie, and for film buffs in general. This gorgeous book has enough cool photos and fascinating anecdotes to keep you occupied for hours.
Its only real detriment is its massive size and weight, which makes it incredibly difficult to read for more than a few minutes at a time. It’s too heavy to hold in your hands for long and it’s not something you can read laying down in bed. It’s a shame that it doesn’t lend itself to being explored cover to cover because the content absolutely makes you want to do that. So you’ll just have to ration your reading, taking just a few pages at a time, because there’s no way the publisher Titan Books could make it any smaller without sacrificing the quality of this volume.
Jaws: Memories from Martha’s Vineyard is available now in stores and online at www.titanbooks.com.
Death is one of the few things that can keep a good author down. But not James M. Cain. His pulp novel The Cocktail Waitress arrives this month, 35 years after his passing. Unlike other mediocre posthumous literary works though, Cain’s novel is actually a gripping read. That’s because the book’s editor, Charles Adai, spent nearly a decade tracking down the multiple Cain manuscripts and exhaustive notes he used to assemble The Cocktail Waitress.
Cain’s book follows Joan Medford, a beautiful young widow, whose husband dies under dubious circumstances. Desperate to pay the bills after his death, Joan takes on work a waitress in a cocktail lounge, where she meets two new men: a whimsical, handsome young man she falls for and a prosperous older one that she decides to marry. The remainder of novel focuses on the subsequent drama that comes from Joan’s conflicting loyalties for the two suitors.
Adai, founder of the Hard Case Crime label for Titan Books, employs shrewd judgment when reconstructing Cain’s narrative. As he discusses in his engaging and informative afterword, Adai merges what he deems to be all the best character arcs and scenes from Cain’s original materials to complete the novel. The result is a compelling final Cain mystery involving his familiar topics of sex, drugs, and murder.
Despite the obvious attention-grabbing nature of these sordid themes, the most persuasive aspect about Cain’s noir crime novel is its unique voice. Not only is The Cocktail Waitress told from a woman’s first-person perspective, an extreme rarity in itself for the genre, but the central character is actually the story’s femme fatale. Usually the femme fatale is just an object of desire that gets our hardboiled protagonist into trouble. She doesn’t normally speak to us and she certainly isn’t aware of that term.
What makes Cain’s main character, Joan Medford, astonishingly intricate is that she openly acknowledges accusations of being a femme fatale and rebuffs them. Her tale is narrated as if she was tape recording her side of the events for posterity. In her testimony, she’s honest about the serious evidence implicating her in murder and her inability to completely exonerate herself. So she does the best that she can with her word, “All I know to do is tell it and tell it all, including some things no woman would willingly tell. I don’t look forward to it, but if that’s how it has to be, it’s how it has to be.”
Although Cain never gives you a reason to doubt the validity of Joan’s account, Adai brings up a good point in his afterword about her reliability as a narrator. Because hers is the only perspective that you read, there’s a very good chance that she’s either lying or not telling the whole truth about everything that happened. Whether she is or not, is something that you’ll ponder long after you finish the book.
Cain’s final work enjoyable read, however it’s not entirely without shortcomings. There are a few moments when Joan is speaking that it’s obvious that a man is writing her words. One instance occurs when she’s getting dressed and describing what she looks like naked to the reader, something a true female narrator wouldn’t likely do. Another weak point is the novel’s ending, something Adai admits Cain was dissatisfied with and trying to rework when he died. The resolution feels predictable and a touch anticlimactic. But at least Stephen King’s praise on the jacket is accurate this time though, “A true rarity: a reader’s novel that’s also a literary event.” Way to go Uncle Stevie!
The Cocktail Waitress is available now in stores and online at www.titanbooks.com.
When Titan Books offered to send me a copy of Lenore: Swirlies, my initial reaction was genuine surprise. I was shocked to finally encounter something zombie-related that I never heard of before. As a rabid enthusiast of all things undead I’m usually well-versed in genre films and literature, yet somehow Roman Dirge’s Lenore series had escaped me. So I decided to take the plunge and read Swirlies, and I’m thankful that I did, because it’s hilarious.
For the uninitiated, Lenore is an undead comic book character created by artist Roman Dirge and named after the titular woman from Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Raven.” Lenore doesn’t hunger for human flesh though. She lives in a town called Nevermore (also borrowed from Poe), where she tries to combat youthful boredom with her adorable pal Ragamuffin and her masked friend Pooty.
The title for Swirlies, Dirge’s fourth Lenore installment, comes from Dirge’s penchant for naming his volumes after childhood afflictions. Other Lenore books include Noogies, Wedgies, and Cooties. The author playfully admits though, that he may be running out of words in that category to use for book titles.
In the introduction to Swirlies, Dirge refers to his Lenore adventures as a “carnival of madness,” which a rather apt description for his zany storylines. With quirky humor slightly reminiscent of Tim Burton’s films, Dirge’s heroine and her pals face bizarre problems like a time-traveling cyborg mortician, a creepy stalker, and alimony payments. Although her experience might be outlandish, Lenore is entertaining as a character because she has the naivety and mischievous nature of a child mixed with the teenage sarcastic cynicism of Lydia from Beetlejuice.
Lenore’s tales are interspersed with other short comics starring Dirge himself, which are called “Things Involving Me.” He uses these shorts as opportunities to connect with the reader by recounting amusing anecdotes from his life. One particularly funny moment involves an instance where he was mistaken for a vampire. These autobiographical strips are good for a chuckle, but they also provide a much needed change of pace.
Dirge’s dark sense of humor works most of the time, even when he’s making heavy-handed pop culture references to films like Aliens and The Crow. However it does get a bit too morbid for me at points and it’s certainly not for everyone. Regardless of what you think of his jokes though, the artwork in Dirge’s book is breathtaking. Landscapes and characters are beautifully drawn and inked. You can tell a lot of love and labor went into them, especially the covers for each Lenore section. The art’s quality is reinforced by an old-fashioned hardcover binding and shade of green.
Stylistically the appearance of Dirge’s characters reminded me of the show Invader Zim, which made sense once I found out that Dirge wrote for the show and published on the same comic label as its creator Jhonen Vasquez. My hunch is that fans of the program would get a kick out of this series if they don’t know about it already.
If you like bizarre dark comedy, talking reanimated corpses, and comics that don’t take themselves too seriously, then you’ll probably enjoy Lenore: Swirlies. It’s a quick read that got me to laugh out loud several times and has me interested and reading Dirge’s previous volumes.
Lenore: Swirlies is available now in stores and online at www.titanbooks.com.
I’m a city reader, so I don’t bother with dust jackets. No sense accidentally ripping them just because I’m bouncing around on public transit. After I finish a book and replace the jacket though, I tend to notice things that I missed the first time. My second examination of Ariel S. Winter’s debut novel The Twenty Year Death went much the same way.
Once I put the jacket back on, I discovered a quote from Stephen King, lauding the book as “Bold, innovative, and thrilling.” At that point, I started to suspect that someone could be ghostwriting generic quotes for Uncle Stevie. Normally I trust King’s opinion on books and movies (we both love AC/DC, James Ellroy, and The Evil Dead), so it doesn’t seem right that he would endorse The Twenty Year Death. That’s because I don’t recall the novel matching his description. Instead I remember it as safe, unimaginative, and only mildly exciting.
It’s a shame too, because the narrative for The Twenty Year Death is built on a really slick concept. Winter’s book tells the tragic tale of a married couple, whose lives are fraught by death and disaster, in the form of three separate novels. The stories, which span a twenty year period from 1931-1951, each take place in a different decade and are written in a style inspired by giants of the pulp mystery genre.
Using Georges Simenon, Raymond Chandler, and Jim Thompson as his muses, Winter writes each novel as a self-contained piece with distinct detectives, plot, and resolutions. They are tied together by a writer and his wife, who move from background figures in the first narrative to take on more important roles in the second, and by the third they have become main characters.
Winter’s heart is definitely in the right place. The idea to write a book in the style of Simenon, Chandler, and Thompson sounds like a fantastic homage; it’s just Winter’s execution that’s lacking. I can easily look past the obvious structure of his three stories, since pulp novels, especially detective ones, are known for following a well-traveled formula. However, pulp fiction is usually entertaining for its complex mysteries and colorful characters, both of which are missing in The Twenty Year Death.
Each tale’s prose is as annoyingly simplistic as the mystery the detective is unraveling. By the time you finally find out whodunit, you’re never terribly surprised or satisfied at the resolution. I’ve read enough detective fiction to know that there are almost never happy endings, but the conclusions of the first and second stories are especially deficient in closure. And the frustrating thing about finale of the third yarn is that it seems to overcompensate with its intense finality.
Normally without a complicated plot, vivid characters would be there to pick up the slack. Although almost none of them are all that interesting or sympathetic in The Twenty Year Death. Strangely the only character that I enjoyed was Dennis Foster, the private eye featured in Winter’s second tale “The Falling Star.” Foster is a detective in the vein of Chandler’s Philip Marlowe, a true anti-hero who knows how crack wise and make the hard choices necessary to solve a crime.
Winter’s debut looks like an old pulp novel with its “Hard Case Crime” label and its epic painting of a femme fatale modeled after actress Rose McGowan. Unfortunately though, the book’s innards don’t live up to the hype or the work of the authors who inspired it.
The Twenty Year Death is available in stores and online at www.titanbooks.com.